United States District Court, D. Utah
MEMORANDUM DECISION & DISMISSAL ORDER
Waddoups United States District Judge
Anthony Charles Murphy, filed this pro se civil
rights suit, see 42 U.S.C.S. § 1983 (2018),
proceeding in forma pauperis. See 28
id. § 1915. The Complaint is now before the
Court for screening. See Id. § 1915(e).
names the following defendants: Judge Thomas Willmore, Utah
First District Court; Spencer Walsh, “chief
prosecutor”; Barbara Lochmar, “assistant district
attorney”; Chief Travis Allen, Smithfield Police
Department; and Officer Zitterkoft, SPD. He brings the
following claims: Confrontation Clause violation;
“compulsory”; jury venire issue; equal protection
violation; due process violations; illegal search and
seizure; ineffective assistance of counsel; and double
jeopardy violation. He requests the following relief:
dismissal of charges; bar against retrial; money damages; and
Standard of Review
Court shall dismiss any claims in a complaint filed in
forma pauperis if they are frivolous, malicious, fail to
state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seek
monetary relief against an immune defendant. See Id.
§ 1915(e)(2)(B). "Dismissal of a pro se complaint
for failure to state a claim is proper only where it is
obvious that the plaintiff cannot prevail on the facts he has
alleged and it would be futile to give him an opportunity to
amend." Perkins v. Kan. Dep't of Corrs.,
165 F.3d 803, 806 (10th Cir. 1999). When reviewing the
sufficiency of a complaint the Court "presumes all of
plaintiff's factual allegations are true and construes
them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff."
Hall v. Bellmon, 935 F.2d 1106, 1109 (10th Cir.
Plaintiff is proceeding pro se the Court must
construe his pleadings "liberally" and hold them
"to a less stringent standard than formal pleadings
drafted by lawyers." Id. at 1110. However,
"[t]he broad reading of the plaintiff's complaint
does not relieve [him] of the burden of alleging sufficient
facts on which a recognized legal claim could be based."
Id. While Plaintiff need not describe every fact in
specific detail, "conclusory allegations without
supporting factual averments are insufficient to state a
claim on which relief can be based." Id.
Complaint alleges claims of unconstitutional criminal
conviction. These are brought against the state-court judge
presiding over his trial. It is well settled that judges
"are absolutely immune from suit unless they act in
'clear absence of all jurisdiction, ' meaning that
even erroneous or malicious acts are not proper bases for
§ 1983 claims." Segler v. Felfam Ltd.
P'ship, No. 08-1466, 2009 U.S. App. LEXIS 10152, at
*4 (10th Cir. May 11, 2009) (unpublished) (quoting Stump
v. Sparkman, 435 U.S. 349, 356-57 (1978)). Regarding the
claims here, this judge was acting in his judicial capacity
in presiding over this case, so his actions are entitled to
absolute immunity. See Doran v. Sanchez, No.
08-2042, 2008 U.S. App. LEXIS 17987, at *2 (10th Cir. Aug.
19, 2008) (unpublished).
Complaint further alleges claims of unconstitutional behavior
by prosecutors seeking his criminal conviction. These are
brought against Defendants Walsh and Lochmar. Prosecutors
acting within the scope of their duties enjoys absolute
immunity from suit under § 1983. Imbler v.
Pachtman, 424 U.S. 409, 424 (1976). The prosecutors'
acts, as alleged by Plaintiff regard advocacy before the
court. These defendants are therefore entitled to absolute
prosecutorial immunity from this lawsuit.
the Supreme Court said in Heck “that a §
1983 action that would impugn the validity of a
plaintiff's underlying conviction cannot be maintained
unless the conviction has been reversed on direct appeal or
impaired by collateral proceedings." Nichols v.
Baer, No. 08-4158, 2009 U.S. App. LEXIS 4302, at *4
(10th Cir. Mar. 5, 2009) (unpublished) (citing Heck v.
Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477, 486-87 (1994)). Heck
keeps litigants "from using a § 1983 action, with
its more lenient pleading rules, to challenge their
conviction or sentence without complying with the more
stringent exhaustion requirements for habeas actions."
Butler v. Compton, 482 F.3d 1277, 1279 (10th Cir.
2007) (citation omitted). Heck clarifies that
"civil tort actions are not appropriate vehicles for
challenging the validity of outstanding criminal
judgments." 512 U.S. at 486.
argues that Defendants violated his constitutional rights
during state criminal proceedings. These arguments attack
Plaintiff's underlying conviction. Heck requires
that, when a plaintiff requests damages in a § 1983
suit, this Court must decide whether judgment in the
plaintiff's favor would unavoidably imply that the
conviction or sentence is invalid. Id. at 487. Here,
it would. If this Court were to conclude that Plaintiff's